The Carolina Panthers are getting ready to take on the Las Vegas Raiders on CBS Sunday, September 13th, and there are lots of changes happening in Charlotte. To say that the Cam Newton/Ron Rivera era was a let down might be fair but it was quite the ride. Exciting and controversial, always entertaining, and a 2015-16 season that came four quarters away from glory, the Panthers have been a hungry organization ready to eat for quite some time. But there is a new sheriff in town and a new signal-caller. Head Coach Matt Rhule and QB Teddy Bridgewater are ready to make their mark on a team seeking glory in what has become one of the most difficult-on-paper divisions in football.
Time waits for no one and with so much competition in the NFC South, the Panthers are looking to get the ball rolling against whatever odds they may face. Competing this year for the Lombardi is sure to take the organization through some interesting scenarios and looking ahead, we have a few storylines that are going to reoccur this season as the team looks to get back to their winning ways. A challenging division, a new-look offense, and so much more. Take a look at what Panther fans have been waiting all these months to see.
Teddy’s Time to Shine
After an underwhelming start to his career which would ultimately become hindered by a horrible ACL injury in Minnesota and a one-year stint in New York, Teddy Bridgewater began showing flashes of his talent once again after finding a home in New Orleans. Used mainly as a backup and in trick plays for the Saints, Teddy found himself thrust into the starting position as franchise quarterback Drew Brees went down with an injury for five games. Bridgewater went 5-0. More than a game manager, his talents once again caught the attention of teams around the league, and would eventually sign with inner-division rival Carolina. Time will tell if Bridgewater will be the right successor to start a new era of football for the Panthers, but one thing is for sure, when he is healthy, Teddy can go out and give this team a win, any given Sunday.
How Quickly Will the Defense Rebuild?
The Carolina Panthers had seven picks in one of the most unique drafts in NFL history and they elected to use every single one of them on defensive players. Considering the team lost many defensive players at the end of last year, have had several others affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and others opt-out due to the same pandemic, these rookies will need to adapt to the league and fast. Make no mistake, the team has plenty of veteran talent but Carolina is rebuilding its defense before our eyes in 2020. There are plenty of outside distractions from the pandemic to social justice that are going to take a toll on the team as a whole but particularly rookies who are entering a new level of playing and scrutiny under the public eye. The organization will be looking to move forward with the newest draft class who will have to fill the shoes of players who have built a culture of hard-nosed defense like Luke Kuechly, whose emotional retirement shocked the football world earlier this year.
Taking a Different Kind of Gamble
Riverboat Ron is in Washington and his replacement, Matt Rhule, has made his way from Baylor University and into North Carolina. This is the first time Rhule is time as the Head Coach of an NFL team. Coming off of a winning season at Baylor that ended in disappointment, Coach Rhule will have to figure out the direction this team will take and quickly. Filled with plenty of exciting pieces, creating something that is more than the sum of its parts will be the main challenge for Rhule as the Panthers retool while looking to compete in the immediate.
Balancing McCaffrey’s Talent and Workload
Coming off of a ridiculous year, Christian McCaffrey earned every penny of his $64 million contract. Now, the Panthers organization will need to protect their investment by managing the amount of work he handles. On one hand, the team will have to lean on his talents as a versatile back that can do a bit of everything and is a complete explosion on offense. On the other, history shows us what happens when running backs take too many hits. If the Panthers want McCaffrey to be a threat this year, at the end of his 4-year contract, and beyond, they are going to need to limit the hits he takes any way possible.
Where to Watch the Carolina Panthers
There are a lot of factors surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that will dictate if and how fans will be able to enjoy football in person this season. No matter, you can follow the Carolina Panthers here all season long and catch all of the gridiron action with DISH Network. With several television packages, you can find the right package filled with tons of NFL related channels for live game coverage, highlights, news, analysis, fantasy advice, and much more. Contact us and we can even bundle your television subscription with various top-rated Internet providers today.